What I’m Listening To: Christmas/Advent

I left the house today!  I decided to walk down to the local mall to pick up a few things and to get some exercise after not leaving the house at all yesterday.  Before I went, I took the opportunity to update my mp3 player to get some Christmas music on there for the walk.

After all of my griping about Christmas carols and how much I don’t want to hear more cheesy music about shepherds and angels, I began to listen nearly exclusively to Christmas music this week (CBC radio still makes up the other bit of my listening). Since my tastes are so picky, you may rightly ask what on earth am I listening to? Wonder no more, here is what is on shuffle in iTunes at the moment (in no particular order):

  • Jars of Clay‘s Christmas Songs. This is pretty much my sole shout out to a Christian band’s take on Christmas because, at the risk of being repetitive, I often find them a little cheesy. However, I like Jars of Clay’s arrangements of some classic Christmas stuff and they have a couple of my favourites on there like Gabriel’s Message and In the Bleak Midwinter.
  • I’ve been on a Bruce Cockburn kick for the last number of months now, so its not really much of a surprise that I like his Christmas album, simply titled Christmas. He has the Huron Carol on there, in (I’m assuming because I can’t understand a word of it) the original language, plus a number of other carols in other languages. Despite his periodic mumbling sound, it’s Bruce. Enough said.
  • At the mall I foolishly walked into a music store.  There I discovered that Loreena McKennitt has a full length Christmas album out called A Midwinter Night’s Dream. So I got it. I’ve been listening to her Christmas EP, Winter Garden for a few years now, so it is nice to have a longer album. It is her usual with crazy cool instruments and beautiful voice. 
  • A new find, but certain to become a favourite, is Advent Songs by Sojourn, apparently a church in Kentucky. Most are new songs, although there are some new arrangements of classics. I don’t normally go for new Christmas songs either (picky, aren’t I?), but there are a few which have already gone on repeat several times and I’m working on figuring out a couple on guitar. That has to count for something! I know this is one I’ll be listening to for the next couple years and possibly even outside of Christmas time. 
  • I grew up listening to The Roger Whittaker Christmas Album, on LP every Christmas from St. Nick’s in Beaconsfield to Christmas on Bleecker. It is now embedded in my consciousness and no Christmas is complete without it.
  • I have enjoyed Steve Bell‘s music for awhile now, and love his Christmasy album, The Feast of Seasons, especially Ready My Heart, The Angel Gabriel, and Coventry Carol. I say Christmasy because there are some songs that have a Christmas or Advent feel to them and others which don’t, yet fit all the same.  It is Steve doing what he does best
  • Jen kindly pointed out another classic that I believe we also had on LP and listened to without end.  I have indeed been listening to a certain Christmas Album by the wonderful Boney M because again, Christmas would not be complete without it (and I need to have a little crazy 80s music going on at times).

Enjoy.  I have been.

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